Before Beck & Limbaugh. Re-meet Morton Downey, Jr.: the original f**king loudmouth
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. MovieMaysles Cinema (343 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY) Map it $10
Before entire networks were built on populist personalities; before reality morphed into a TV genre; the masses fixated on a single, sociopathic star: controversial talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr. In the late ‘80s, Downey tore apart the traditional talk format by turning debate of current issues into a gladiator pit. His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a rabid cult following, but also the title “Father of Trash Television.” Was his show a platform for the working man or an incubator for Snooki and The Situation? Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie dissects the mind and motivation of television’s most notorious agitator.
Lower the safety bar for a rollercoaster ride through Downey’s euphoric ascent to fame and nauseating plummet to infamy. Évocateur features interviews with Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Chris Elliott, Gloria Allred, Sally Jessy Raphael, Alan Dershowitz, Curtis Sliwa, Richard Bey, Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck and never-before-seen footage reveals Downey’s behind-the-scenes fistfights and foibles. Animation recreates the legends of Downey that bounce between executive nightmare and schoolboy fantasy. Évocateur also features an exclusive interview with Steven Pagones, the white assistant district attorney accused in 1988 of raping black teenager Tawana Brawley. Brawley advocate Al Sharpton refused to be interviewed for Évocateur, but there is shocking footage of him taped during a Morton Downey Jr. Show commercial break.
Post-screening Q&A and Morton Downey Jr. Reunion, participants TBA.